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Travel to Kalasin
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  1. #1
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    Travel to Kalasin

    Thank you to anyone who can give me some insight on this. I plan to go on my first to Thailand in October. The plan is hatching out as follows: fly to Chiang Mai, spend a few days there, and travel alone by car to Kalasin. I realize this is a lengthy drive and most likely will require some driving while dark. I may meet a person I've messaged with in Chiang Mai as a guide for some of my time there, and I definitely will have an acquaintance in Kalasin. After about a week in and around Kalasin, drive alone to Bangkok where I will also have an acquaintance.

    Is it safe/crazy/doable/inadvisable/OK etc for me to take on this driving trip? Will I have issues with reading road signs, navigating, getting lost, on either leg of this trip, since I have no Thai. Once in Bangkok I will part with the car and be more or less chauffeured around southern Thailand with various acquaintances until I depart from there.

  2. #2
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    Re: Travel to Kalasin

    Depending on your age and desire for adventure I would say its Its a little crazy for a first-time visitor with no language to try this very long drive through some pretty rugged country, unless you go all the way with your Thai friend (no pun intended).
    Ӽ

  3. #3
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    Re: Travel to Kalasin

    Thanks for the reply. I guess the question is, why do you think it is a little crazy? I am 55 years old, in exceptional health and fitness, play competitive ice hockey regularly, so I am not worried about anything on that side of the coin. In fact, it allows me to be fairly adventurous, carry packs full of heavy camera gear. If you have any interest, you can see some of my work at my website, exceptionallight.com.

    One of my main interests in making the trip by car is to get closer to the countryside with a camera than a train, bus, or plane would allow.

    I will be travelling alone on both of these legs. Is there cell phone service in the rural areas between Chiang Mai and Kalasin, and between Kalasin and Bangkok? I believe I will be able to have assistance in obtaining a decent rental car. Again, thanks so much for any help and insight.

  4. #4
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    Re: Travel to Kalasin

    HI

    Have you ever been to anywhere in Asia
    It is total culture shock for a first timer.
    english signage will be pretty much non existent out of the major citys
    Thai's drive on the different side of the road than USA.
    the roads will be full of bycycles. scooter's people walking and bus's and huge trucks.
    all at the same time.

    I would recommend traveling between destinations by bus or train or plane then rent
    car and driver for exploring.

    If you must drive yourself get international license. lots of insurance and a GPS for navigation.

    and check other forums for the does and don't with dealing with Thai traffic police.

    good Luck

  5. #5
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    Re: Travel to Kalasin

    HI

    also the typical Ameican bravado " I am big and strong can handle my self anywhere"
    does not work well in thailand. they are more humble and un assumeing do not like conflict. If you do get into trouble being loud abusive and demanding it will only make matters much worse.

    and god forbide you get into any physical altercation it will be you against everyone else
    they do not fight alone but by committee. and the police willbe on the locals side.

    so always have a smile and be polite no matter how mad or upset you get.

    Your not in Cleveland anymore.

  6. #6
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    Re: Travel to Kalasin

    Any experience of driving cars with right hand steering and changing gear with your left hand? You may want an "auto" gearbox-does not mean 100% that is what you will get. You do not state you can speak Thai-not many English speakers Kalasin end of the trip.
    How are you going to cope in the event of a breakdown? With garages for gas? Asking directions? Car accident in the dark because some other vehicle has not bothered with lights? Police-as a farang driver it is a fair chance you will be stopped for some minor offence or the other attracting an instant "roadside fine" (no receipt)?
    Being fit and a jock is not much use in these situation.
    Suggest you hire a driver-he can probably take you to some great places en-route to do some photography as well.

  7. #7
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    Re: Travel to Kalasin

    These are all instructive replies. They supply good reasons for reconsideration. Thanks very much. The gist of all the replies makes me think that even if one takes time and is properly cautious about driving, there will be too many of the cited obstacles for a true new-comer to deal with alone. This seems to go slightly contrary to what some of the information disseminated over the web suggests about farang driving in Thailand (Asian Trails site, for example, and others).

    How likely is it to find drivers who can make the two legs of this trip? A different driver per leg would be OK. How would it work out for having an even more personal/intimate experience of Thailand--taking a few back roads, taking more time to see things, stopping at perhaps out-of-the-way destinations--if I rented a car and was driven by a hired driver? How trustworthy should I be about hiring someone for this?

    If I took public transportation on one of the legs, which would you recommend? It might be an idea to hire a driver for the first leg, and take a bus or train from Kalasin to Bangkok.

    Thanks again for all the advice.

  8. #8
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    Re: Travel to Kalasin

    Quote Originally Posted by UptownRocker View Post
    How likely is it to find drivers who can make the two legs of this trip? A different driver per leg would be OK. How would it work out for having an even more personal/intimate experience of Thailand--taking a few back roads, taking more time to see things, stopping at perhaps out-of-the-way destinations--if I rented a car and was driven by a hired driver? How trustworthy should I be about hiring someone for this?
    It is quite easy in Thailand to hire a driver with his own car

    Quote Originally Posted by UptownRocker View Post
    If I took public transportation on one of the legs, which would you recommend? It might be an idea to hire a driver for the first leg, and take a bus or train from Kalasin to Bangkok.
    The nearest rail station to Kalasin is about 100km away in Khon Kaen. It would not be possible to take a train from Chiang Mai to Kalasin (Khon Kaen) without going via Bangkok. Thailands railways are to/from Bangkok and don't go from one region to another.

    David
    My new travel blog: https://www.weekender.blog/

  9. #9
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    Re: Travel to Kalasin

    That bit about no train between Chiang Mai and Kalasin sort of nails it in terms of needing a car (bus?). David, I see you are a photographer. Do you shoot in Thailand? If so, would you recommend making photographs at places during the trip to Kalasin?

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    Re: Travel to Kalasin

    I'm a photographer (as a hobby not a profession), therefore I recommend taking photographs anywhere and everywhere. When you are aware from home everything seems interesting and worth photographing though it may be commonplace to the locals. And even what may seem mundane in your own locality will most likely seem interesting 10 or 20 years down the line when things have changed beyond recognition.

    David
    My new travel blog: https://www.weekender.blog/

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